Social Expectations between 1450 and 1800

Social expectations and all other ideas tied to it have existed for centuries among world civilizations. These expectations were therefore an integral part of society since they determined the image that one would portray while settling into their adaptive function. Behaviors of whole populations were therefore decided by such expectations, even going as far as altering perceptions either directly or indirectly.  I opine that the main factor shaping nascent social expectations between 1450 and the 1800s was knowledge that was being disseminated between persons at an industrial scale. The developments that were to be made in society now depended on this crucial facet of society that would even go ahead to shape the most iconic periods in history. The Age of Enlightenment was a historical event that took place during this era and was punctuated by radical reorientation in the field of science, politics and philosophy (Walzer, 2003). It was during this period that thinkers emerged across Europe with radical views that they expected adherents to embrace. Thomas Hobbes was a notable figure during this period remembered for his best work, Leviathan, in which he espoused the absolute monarchy as the most ideal form of government. The general expectation was that individuals would become monarchists, even though this view proved quite divisive.

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Nonetheless, it is vital to acknowledge that this was a tumultuous period in the political affairs of a majority of European powers. Leading thinkers such as John Locke were critical of the divine right of kings to rule over their subject and was quite critical of this form of government. The most dominant political philosophy was that of liberty to all while questioning traditional authority. It was these same notions that were embraced by the American settlers in the 13 British colonies who fought in the Revolutionary War (1776) and in the French Revolution (1779) (Starkey, 2013, p. 56).

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On the economic front, capitalism emerged as the most dominant system.  Tools of production were in the hands of the bourgeoisie while the proletariats were expected to provide their labor for this particular cause.   On the other hand, established religions were on a rough patch particularly due to the permeation of scientific knowledge that now allowed people to question their own long-held beliefs. Persons therefore ascribed to what was popularly referred to as “scrutiny by reason” which allowed them to poke holes at miracles and transmutation.  They were therefore bold enough to question the church, demanding empirical evidence which would be the only way to prove claims that had been made by religious leaders.


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